Throughout history, people have fought countless wars, for countless reasons. Sometimes, governments battle to seize another’s territory or resources. In other instances, compatriots fight to change their government or to form an independent country.

While many of these drivers of conflict have stayed the same for thousands of years, the nature of conflict is changing. For example, wars between countries have been on the decline since the end of World War II. This trend, however, does not mean that we’re living in peaceful times, as conflicts within countries have become much more common. And while history books tell stories of soldiers fighting in battlefields, many modern conflicts are taking place in densely populated cities or in new theaters such as cyberspace.

In this module, we will

  • explore how the decline in wars between countries does not mean that countries have stopped coming into conflict;
  • look at the various drivers, forms, and consequences of conflicts within countries;
  • break down the various threats facing civilians on today’s modern battlefields;
  • examine the legacy of three decades of conflict in Northern Ireland to make sense of what happens after conflicts end; and
  • learn about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and how alliances serve as powerful deterrents to conflict.
Referenced Module